Rating: 3 stars
Bollywood has a huge legacy of sidekicks who were loved by the audiences. Most often these actors would play sidekicks to the villains, at times supporting characters and sometimes comic reliefs. The list includes Viju Khote, Jeevan, Keshto Mukherjee, Johnny Walker, Tun Tun, Lalita Pawar, Sudhir, Iftekhar to name a few. Sometimes these sidekicks played the same role again and again. The audiences then knew these sidekicks for their takiya-qalams (signature dialogue) and peculiar personalities and would often expect to see what they were used to do. Quite similar to how they’d expect to see their favourite stars (leading actors) do what they were known for.
In Kaamyaab, Sanjay Mishra plays one of those (fictional) sidekicks named Sudheer. Sudheer has acted in 499 films as one interviewer shows him. Sudheer is kicked about playing the 500th role to give a ‘round figure’ to his film career. The premise is interesting. The film too begins well with some moments made to revisit your ‘filmy’ days. But by the interval you start guessing where it could possibly culminate.
Kaamyaab shows the cruelty of life behind the glitz of showbiz. Everyone remembers the hero. Nobody remembers the sidekick. Although, Sudheer has some of his fans, rather people who still know him, recall the role he was famous for, Shera. They recite his famous dialogue “Enjoying life. Aur option kya hai?”. The sad part is that he’s not enjoying his life after all.
The film is as real as it could be. We, Bollywood movie goers don’t quite like the showbiz being demystified. Zoya Akhtar’s stunning debut Luck By Chance (2009) was a prime example of that.
Sanjay Mishra himself has played a number of memorable parts as sidekicks. In a recent interview (equally engaging as Kaamyaab), where he reminisces about his life, Mishra mentioned being mistaken for actor Rajpal Yadav. Rings quite true to the soul of Kaamyaab. Mishra has two films as the main lead Kadvi Hawa (2017) and Rajat Kapoor’s intriguing Ankhon Dekhi (2014). But most of mass audience (the larger population of movie goers) might remember Mishra for his appearances in Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal series and a sleeper-hit All The Best (2009) where Mishra had a signature line “Dhondu, Just Chill”.
Mishra portrays the fickle fame and cruel reality with equal ease. There’s a natural connect towards this guy. Deepak Dobriyal (should have got to do more) plays a casting director who gets Mishra his 500th role. Their scenes together are some of the best ones in the film. But you always crave for something which seems missing. It is an honest debut by writer/director Hardik Mehta. It is a genuine attempt to create a heart-warming experience – an ode to the sidekicks. Mehta gets some of the famous sidekicks to play themselves in this film. Their faces tell you much more than any gut-wrenching scene could have conveyed. One of them was Viju Khote. The film is dedicated to him. Khote himself was known for his two iconic lines from the movies. “Maine aapka namak khaya hai sardar” from Sholay and “Galti se mistake ho gaya” from Andaz Apna Apna.
To summarize, Kaamyaab may or may not get the theatrical success but if you are a film buff you should watch it. “Aur option hee kya hai?”